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Doctorate in Communication, Culture & Media

The PhD in Communication, Culture and Media offers students the opportunity to become experts in a variety of topics, such as:

  • political communication (especially war and conflict)
  • media treatment of immigration and immigrants
  • consumer culture and culture change under commodification of the self
  • theoretical and methodological approaches to social media, discourse and political economy
  • social justice issues
  • popular music and fashion

PhD students are continuously exposed to opportunities to enrich their academic and experience and career outlook. Students regularly present work at the meetings of the National Communication Association, the International Communication Association, the Eastern Communication Association and the Popular Culture Association. Former and current students have published work on political communication, new media, mediated communication and intergenerational perception, consumerism and messages, business communication, diversity, and critical media studies. Students also excel in research methods in high demand in communication studies, including quantitative analysis, network analysis, online ethnography, mixed-methods approaches and discourse analysis.

PhD in Communications Coursework

The PhD coursework is structured around a set of required core courses, a set of required seminars with rotating topics, and electives in graduate communication lecture courses, independent study work and dissertation credit.

All students in the program take five common core courses. They then take no less than five courses chosen from the Culture and Communications (COM) seminar offerings. Students are encouraged to take additional seminars after meeting this requirement since seminar courses enable collaborative relationships with professors and introduce students to the scholarly community.

After completing the core requirements and a sequence of seminars, students take a minimum of 10 additional courses from existing graduate level lecture courses (depending on their interests and research needs). Students may take up to two graduate courses (six credits) outside the department. Additional credits to meet the 90 credit requirement come from independent study and dissertation credits.

Communications PhD Applicant Information

The PhD in Communication, Culture and Media has an application submission deadline of December 15th, and admits about three students each fall. As a small program, students work closely with faculty and serve as research or teaching assistants as part of their training.

Qualifying Exams and Prerequisites for Communications PhD Programs

After students complete 45.0 credits, which is usually at the end of their sixth term, they take a qualifying examination. The qualifying exam is offered at the end of June and is composed of three parts: theory, methods and a content area. Students are given the grade of fail, pass or high pass on the exam. A grade of pass in all three sections of the exam is required to qualify for the PhD. Students who do not pass one out of three sections of the exam on the first attempt may retake the section one time to qualify for the PhD. If they do not pass the second time, they will be dismissed from the program. When a student passes all three sections of the exam, the proper paperwork is filed with the University graduate office and the student advances to candidacy.

Dissertation Defense

Students will defend their dissertation and graduate towards the end of their fifth or sixth year, during either the Spring or Summer Quarters.

Recent CCM Alumni Academic Placements

  • Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Troy, New York
  • Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey
  • St. John’s University, Jamaica, New York

Teaching Fellow Policy

The College of Arts and Sciences regards training in pedagogy and instruction to be core to the mission of doctoral education. Therefore, all PhD students in the College are required to perform significant teaching duties (defined over multiple terms) during their pursuit of their degree. These activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Supervising teaching labs
  • Running course recitations
  • Teaching as the primary instructor
  • Running student seminars
  • Training junior researchers in core research methods
  • Running or actively participating in pedagogical seminars or conferences

Alternate fulfillment of this requirement is at the discretion of the program director and the head of the student's home department.

Learn more about the degree in the Course Catalog

APPLY FOR a graduate DEGREE IN Communication, Culture & Media

Apply for a graduate degree in Communication, Culture and Media or visit campus to get firsthand information about a Drexel education. Contact for more information.

Prospective Student Inquiries

Drexel College of Arts and Sciences Director of Recruiting Kelly Schimpf

Kelly Schimpf
Director of Recruitment
College of Arts of Sciences
3250 Chestnut Street
4020 MacAlister Hall